(photo credit: Courtesy)
"A national disgrace," was how Nobel Laureate Professor Israel Aumann, speaking at the 6th Annual Herzliya Conference on Saturday night, characterized Israel's treatment of the Gaza Strip evacuees.
"Many of them have been living in hotels for nearly six months after they were expelled, in minimal conditions. Most of them haven't received permanent housing, or even acceptable temporary quarters. They don't have work. The children are depressed. There have been a number of suicide attempts. They aren't making a living. Many families - maybe most - haven't seen a shekel of compensation, and those that have are using it to feed themselves," said Aumann.
"We aren't talking about the enemy," the professor continued. "We aren't talking about criminals. We're talking about constructive people who built wonderful communities, and whose lives have been ruined."
Everyone is ignoring the evacuees' plight, Aumann declared, saying that he, at least, would not remain silent on the issue.
In his speech, Professor Aumann also attacked agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians, and criticized Israel for not putting a stop to anti-Israel instruction in Palestinian schools.
The incitement against Israel is growing fiercer every year, Aumann said, adding that it Israel was at fault. "[The propaganda] is much more serious than any terrorist acts or Kassam rockets," Aumann cautioned. "If children learn in school that the state of Israel should be wiped off the map, they'll become adults who believe the same thing. And not long from now, they'll be the leaders."
Professor Aumann criticized Israeli concessions of land for peace, explaining that "Our problem is that we don't have time. We're in a hurry. We're destroying beautiful, flourishing communities in the name of peace, because 'something has to be done.'"
Aumann said that Israel should be patient and wait for the Palestinians to accept the fact that Israel had a right to exist.
"If we had patience," Aumann said, "We might really achieve peace. [But] anyone who wants peace now won't ever get a lasting peace."